In space and in the veils of deep time lurks an inevitable unwanted passenger. This passenger exists separate and yet completely integrated into the innermost part of our personal self. It rides in plain obfuscation and desperate need. It can spurn thoughts of suicide and blankness to dreams of actions untaken. We melt and sublimate in its presence all at the same time. It is where our minds go when we are apathetic towards thought and action. Where we drift when no thought is required. The infinitude of explored possibilities. Boredom. I highly suspect that all minds that can think and dream can get bored. The state of minimal activity in creativity. The minimal level of existence energy required. In the extreme case, what do you do when infinity gets boring? What do you do when all that exists has been explored. What does an enquiring mind do when it has nothing left to inquire about? All questions have been answered. This is the inevitable conclusion to the march of evolution and understanding. They have won the game of knowing. Now what?
For us humans, it is an era in human evolution that is of great discoveries and concepts. Science and its powers to understand have lit a huge booster rocket under our ingenuity. We as the newcomers on the block have the vast bulk of the Universe to discover. We as the newborns have yet truly begun to explore let alone understand the nature of the Real. Humanity really still has to clean the “cradle cap” off its head. We have barely begun our systematic and logical search for the answers that we all desire to have. All new discoveries are the vanguard of a flurry of observations and hypotheses. Science doing what science does best. All we see and have created can really be directly attributed to the last 400 years of advancement. 400 years is less than a hummingbird’s blink of an eye in the grand scheme of the ancient Universe. Such an infinitesimally small slice of time/space. Truly an asymptote that approaches zero. Our understanding of the Universe is commensurately as small. As we learn more and more the Universe gets a little smaller. What happens when we eventually shrink the Universe to a single point? A point of all understanding in which all further questions are meaningless and redundant.
In 1984, the philosopher Aaron Sloman invited scholars to describe ‘the space of possible minds’. Sloman’s phrase alludes to the fact that human minds, in all their variety, are not the only sorts of minds. There are, for example, the minds of other animals, such as beavers, slugs, and tardigrades. But the space of possibilities must also include the minds of life-forms that have evolved elsewhere in the Universe, minds that are very different from any product of terrestrial physiology, biology, or construction. Beyond our neuronally constructed expectations and limited understanding of what “Life” and its possible parameters really mean. We are stuck in a rabbit hole we have evolved to disregard. Time, Space and perceived zeitgeists are relative in relation to what is real.
Implicit in this mapping seems to be the possibility of forms of consciousness so alien that we would not recognize them. Yet I am also concerned, following Ludwig Wittgenstein, to reject the dualistic idea that there is an impenetrable realm of subjective experience that forms a distinct portion of reality. I prefer the notion that ‘nothing is hidden’, metaphysically speaking. The difficulty here is that accepting the possibility of radically inscrutable consciousness seemingly readmits the dualistic proposition that consciousness is not, so to speak, ‘open to view’, but inherently private. But is it truly so?
Imagine an Earth-size planet that writhes through space attached to a shrinking red dwarf star. The planet for our discussion here is called “TAU”. The planet TAU has been locked to this now volatile star since time immemorial. Billions of years in a delicate dance of forces of attractions and repulsions. A Lagrange type balance in degrees never imagined before. This planet has been bathed in exotic powerful emissions since it first succumbed to accretion forces and coalesced into a rough sphere object. Like Earth, it owes its life to a first-generation star who gave its life so it may live upon planetary reformation. Life emerged only 5.2 billion years after the singularity. Various civilizations rose and fell on TAU over its first few billion years of habitable existence. But eventually, all that survived by either ignorance or maladaptation is this alien planet’s version of plant life. Not plant life like on Earth but the kind of life that evolved “Black Chlorophyll” a form of photosynthesis far superior and more efficient than Earth’s version came to be.
Now hypothesize a new different type of life form. One from a much different star and a much different time. Drop your colloquial ideas of life and how life interacts with self and others. Drop all tribal primitive ideas of us, them and, who are they? Step outside of your private primate self for just a few minutes. Forget what you think you know about what is really possible in the endless void of deep time.
This alien photosynthetic life needed to be able to take light from the bulk of the electromagnetic spectrum not just energies from a slim sliver of the EM spectrum like terrestrial chlorophyll does (blues and greens). This photosynthetic life evolved the high powered ability to absorb not reflect the bulk of the frequencies of light being spewed out of its red dwarf benefactor. This life form evolved quickly under such ideal and ample energy fields from which to feast upon. It had no needs wants or desires. It just existed feasting and evolving for countless eons. They exist bound to the ground like plants. Unmoving. Unneeding to move. Evolving in such an energetic region of space gave is all the evolutionary stress it needed to evolve consciousness. This consciousness gained sentience and was self-aware. Their physical pods cover the bulk of the planet’s landmasses. Hands, branches, tentacles, and roots reach across all the planet’s landmasses. No space is uncovered on the planet’s surface. It is one large planetary size life form. Comprised of highly evolved individual cells of consciousness. Trillions of individuals but one overarching communal intelligence. This intelligence is sublime. In its billion years of existence not once did any parts of it and certainly not from the whole did it ever think in the terms of hostility or hate. Those kinds of mental constructs are not one that exists for TAU’s inhabitance. They have never needed anything. All resources supplied by its companion star. Imagine no hate, no hurt, no pain throughout its entire history.
“In the end, it was the Sunday afternoons he couldn’t cope with, and that terrible listlessness which starts to set in at about 2:55, when you know that you’ve had all the baths you can usefully have that day, that however hard you stare at any given paragraph in the papers you will never actually read it, or use the revolutionary new pruning technique it describes, and that as you stare at the clock the hands will move relentlessly on to four o’clock, and you will enter the long dark teatime of the soul.” ~ Douglas Adams
They evolved a planetary consciousness. This consciousness got smarter and smarter. Its mental influence grew and grew. its growth was exponential once it started. Its intelligence and reach became near-infinite in expectation but truly infinite in understanding. Through a brilliant form of remote viewing, it became One with the Universe. A strong voice in the chorus of alien minds which inhabitant this bulk of apparent nothingness. It has had time to explore everything everywhere. They experience all the Universe through their unique vision. They experienced totality over and over again.
Everything became not enough. Being essentially an immortal intelligence has its intellectual downsides. Chronos is a cruel taskmaster. What is the many One to do? Daydream? Create poetry? Is a distraction from the Real even possible from a planetary mind? Even if it was, it would be a fleeting distraction at best. Time marches on and cares not for feelings or missed opportunities. Yet again a low state of existence… When questions do not exist anymore no need for answers. No need for minds to think. No matter how brilliant and invasive this intelligence evolves to be it will be a slave to time. It is a program with no off switch a state of illusory pain of zero motivation. No gains just long, long stalemates with the coldness and vacuum of deep time. An emptiness of intellectual hunger which cannot be slaked. Homesickness of the soul.
They did the only thing left to do. That was to explore the myriad of life forms in the Universe. Try to experience the Universe through their unique perspectives. Through which a new Universe, an unexplored Universe, one which is created by the mind of the lifeform being seen through. Each lifeform creates its own experiential Universe which can be explored. Perceiving the Universe through the senses of other creatures provides them with new avenues to explore. New Universes of experience to experience. The end of curiosity is ceased and discovery began again. As it goes today and tomorrow and for the end of time.
The joy of discovery is enjoyed by all when a newly advanced mind comes online. It is an event worthy of celebration. Such a rare event is truly the only thing in this vast emptiness that has any value at all in the long run. Life all life is precious and worthy of life, liberty, and happiness for which can be explored and learned from by all.
We newly arrived humans must try to understand that others have been in the Universe long before our star glowed brightly. Long before the star before our star went nova to create the one you see outside today. They have been here and will be here till time extinguishes itself possibly longer than that. Many kinds of life in this Universe are on the same quest of finding new vistas to explore.
Keep an open mind. They can get inside easier that way 🙂 Peace.
Reason guides the smallest bit of man. The Universe Has No Obligation To Make Sense To You!
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